89.5 FM SUBIC BAY RADIO: Birth Pains


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Birth Pains

I remember when I gave birth to my daughter, That day I woke up with my bedsheets entirely wet and later realizing that my water just broke. No pain, I said. So I was rushed to the hospital, still feeling no pain at all, and was hauled into the labor room. I waited for it to come but still... until the doctors came in and gave me a shot of something that would induce labor. Then it came, at first slowly, and then the excruciating, unbearable pain as if my insides were being ripped out of my body. After sometime at the operating room and numb from the anaesthesia, Gabrielle finally came out, my achievement as a woman and mother.

Birth pains worth experiencing.

Today, my daughter is a teenager, and I, now almost halfway through my adult existence with nary any memory whatsoever of that painful feeling of giving birth. Until Bay FM came along.

When I took the job, I sensed no foreboding pain at all. With pain I meant difficulties adjusting to this new job, people I now work with, a fairly new environment and the office politics that go with the territory. It was really a breeze since the guys at the department we belong to were genuinely nice to me and welcomed me as part of their office family. Then slowly, it came.

It wasn't really the physical environment or the people that caused the birth pains. It was actually the radio station, and boy did I found out how complex my job would be.

Consider the following realities and issues when I first took on the job:

1. Equipment of the FM station were either makeshift (courtesy of the Mcgyvers of the department) or lent out by well-meaning people and the agency has not really invested any equipment on the station;

2. There is no transmitter. It operates at merely 95 watts powered by an exciter. (So when you exit Subic and Olongapo City, the Freeport's only radio station ceases to exist);

2. The broadcast and production computers are 10 years old;

3. There was no such thing as advertising revenue. There was no such thing as advertising, period;

4. Only two people were assigned to do production and boardwork full-time, and these two were originally hired as telephone operators: BernieMac (who had a couple of deejay stints in Baguio and Zambales), and Tommy G (formerly a bingo caller);

5 Only two people probably listen to the station;

6. Programming sucks. The station plays sucky music and its playlist dictated by some head geezer in the department.

7. And to top it all off, it doesn't have a franchise but came to be because of a 5-year agreement with the government's radio network (of which its lifespan, when I came on board, went down to only three years since it already spent its two years perpetually on test broadcast).

A shabby FM radio station facility operated by a state corporation located inside a booming investment center which earns millions of dollars for the government. How ironic.

Gathering all the boldness left in me while earnestly invoking all the gods in heaven, and armed with a resolution from the agency's Board of Directors approving its initial advertising rates (which I proposed earlier during my marketing days) and the brand name Bay FM, I started writing a business plan for the radio station.

It was tough especially the part where I computed revenue projections (I hate math!). After a number of sleepless nights and a good many coffee and nicotine, I finally did it. So, I went running to the big bosses for them to finally approve it which, up to now, I wonder, did they or did they not approve it at all?

What the hell...I just moved on and started implemented it.

We have this notion that Filipinos are great in crafting ambitious plans but then dawdle when its time to really take action. But in this case, specifically my case, I couldn't afford to be a slacker here if I still want my head attached to my body. So, from the day I first stepped inside the radio station to this moment as I am writing this, I breathe, eat, sleep, laugh, cry, and literally live for Bay FM (definitely with exaggeration there).

Which brings me back to my analogy...

It may seem odd comparing the birth of my daughter with the outset of my, shall I say, career as a neophyte radio station manager. But hey, how else should I put it. Pain first, then glory later. With Bay FM, glory may eventually come, hopefully, in my lifetime.